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RIFT Hands-on Preview

It’s been nearly a week since the last RIFT Beta and we are now one day away from TRION’s final push into Open Beta. So how have I been feeling this week? Well a bit crap really as RIFTdrawl set in 24 hours after Beta 6 shut down.
We continued Beta 6 where we left off in Beta 5, back in Scarlet Gorge ready to get levelling. The first batch of quests for Beta 6 took us down to Rock Ridge where there is a continual RIFT invasion which is part of the Scarlet Gorge quest line. This was pretty fortunate because the IncGamers Guild was on a Guild quest at the same time which meant we had to finish off 1000 rift creatures to gain our guild level up! Taking on the Earth Rift down in Rock Ridge helped really rack up the tally to reach this goal and before long the guild had achieved a new level.
In my recent interview with Hal Hanlin, I asked about quest item bags and again I can’t help but feeling it would be a nice addition. There was so much stuff dropping from Rifts and quest items I found myself ditching stuff I would probably want to hold onto, especially profession crafting items. Needs must though and they had to go as the bags were full up with rewards from tackling the numerous RIFTs opening up in Rock Ridge.
Beta 6 brought brand new patch notes which were absolutely massive but it did give me the opportunity to respec the Warrior souls I had in place thanks to the souls being reset by TRION. After Beta 5 I couldn’t help but feel that the Warrior was not working for me, it just didn’t have the punch I have come to expect from a Warrior class. It was close but no cigar.  If I was to be effective in the dungeons with the other guild members I realised that the souls really needed further investigation.
Trial and Error
When I started the character in Beta 1 it was strictly little trial and error. Now was the time to make some changes. After a few forum posts looking for some advice, a Paladin/Riftblade combo was settled on for my Warrior, but again it was very much experimental. Throughout Beta 6 I was getting to grips with it but I did miss a few skills from the initial build. I guess you can’t have it all but I have a feeling I will be revisiting the soul trees again very shortly. This is what is so exciting about RIFT’s characters; the ability to tinker with the character builds.  For each calling there are more than enough combinations to suit any player’s play style but of course with so much choice comes so much experimentation.
Different situations can require a different build of your calling as I was later to find out when playing with the Guild in the Foul Cascades. It’s been a little hard to mess around too much in the Beta sessions because of the three day time limit, but fortunately we don’t have to wait until the retail goes live now.
Into the Breach
The new zone that opened up in Beta 6 was the devastated Scarwood Reach, a place that was once a magical forest that has since been ravaged by logging. Controversial.  It’s a bleak dark place with huge pits and a hotly contested zone between the Defiant and Guardian factions. Despite its rather bleak appearance it’s a great zone for questing past level 30 and of course there is the rather ominous looking King’s Reach dungeon which newly available up in Beta 6.
With the opening of the new zone, the IncGamers guild were straight in and ran the Kings Breach Dungeon and you can see how that panned out in our full video series.
Once again Beta 6 ran very smoothly with TRION only pulling the servers down for a few short 30 minute periods to apply two patches. The queues from the start of Beta five were nonexistent in Beta 6 which is a great sign and showed that TRION have a pretty good handle on how many servers they are going to require come launch. The real test comes tomorrow when the Beta goes into its open phase, I have a feeling every man and his dog is going to be hitting the servers come 6PM GMT. From past experience, I think TRION will be well prepared, something you can’t say often these days when it comes to MMO Beta testing.
I Suck at PvP
In Beta 6 we were also introduced to a new Warfront which was a capture the flag zone. Now I’ll be the first to admit I am pretty crap at PvP in MMOs hence the reason I stick to the PvE servers but Warfronts are open to everyone so if you want a slice of PvP they are ideal.
Whitefall Steppes
The new Warfront Whitefall Steppes introduced in Beta 6 is a pretty straightforward CTF affair, both sides starting at opposite sides of the map with a huge Air RIFT dominating the centre of the map. Simply grab the flag and get it back to your base. In any game where there is auto-targeting I always feel that the skill level required to play the game is a lot less than say playing an FPS, but it’s a different type of gameplay and the supporting characters are just as important as the flag carrier. Sure it’s not as fast a game as say Quake CTF but it can be just as exciting. Needless to say I died with frightening frequency. Fortunately I had picked up the two quests from Sanctum to gain experience for just taking part which actually levelled me up to 31 just before the Beta shut down.
So we’re six Betas down and how do I feel about the game? Initially I thought that by this stage I would be quite apathetic about future tests but I can confidently say I have been pulled in by this game. Its polish, game world, character builds and of course the gameplay itself. With one more week of testing left before the early starters get into the retail version, TRION are on the verge of releasing a pretty special MMO experience and we’ll be bringing you more on how it all goes as we head toward the retail launch.
The IncGamers Guild takes on King’s Breach

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